The White Horses of The Camargue
A herd of white horses gallop through a calm saltwater delta, kicking up spray as they race wildly against the setting sun. Their movements become blurred as they rush along the remote landscape, slowing to a single line when the leader decides he’s had enough. The animals belong to several ranches of the Camargue, which lies in the Rhone River in southern France. As an ancient breed of indigenous horse, they are allowed to roam across the lands freely – as they have for hundreds if not thousands of years.
These incredible photos were taken by wildlife photographer Xavier Ortega, 58, who travelled four hours from his home in Barcelona, Spain, to watch the herd. He has made the journey three times every year, for the last three years – searching the remote areas for the horses and making a portfolio of his photos.
Xavier said: “In these three years I have seen many horses – usually they can run for ten minutes until the leader decides to quit. I love seeing horses like this – running free in the wild. They are one of my favourite animals, displaying a combination of power, beauty and water in a great place with magnificent light.”
Despite having relatively unknown origins, the horses are considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the world. Having lived in the harsh environment of the Rhone Delta for thousands of years, they have developed a stamina, hardness and agility for which they are known today.
The married father-of-two said: “I remember taking these particular photos – it was a magical moment. The sky was ablaze with yellow clouds early one morning when a herd of white horses came running through the marsh. I chose a short lens to capture the beautiful landscape and I believe I took one of my best pictures.”